Know well the condition of your flocks, and give attention to your herds. - Proverbs 27:23
Every wise businessman will occasionally hold a stock-taking, when he will examine his accounts, consider what he has on hand, and determine clearly whether his trade is prosperous or declining. Every man who is wise in the kingdom of heaven will cry, "Search me, O God . . . Try me";1 and he will frequently set apart special seasons for self-examination, to discover whether things are right between God and his soul. The God whom we worship is a great heart-searcher; and in the past His servants referred to Him as "I am he who searches mind and heart, and I will give to each of you as your works deserve."2
Let me encourage you in His name to diligently search and solemnly test your spiritual state, for fear you should come short of the promised rest. This is what every wise man does, and what God Himself does with us all. I exhort you to do the same yourself this evening. Let the oldest saint examine the basics of his piety, for gray heads may cover evil hearts: And the young professor should not despise the word of warning, for the greenness of youth may accompany the rottenness of hypocrisy. Every now and then a spiritual giant falls. The enemy still continues to sow tares among the wheat.
It is not my aim to introduce doubts and fears to your mind; I rather hope that the rough wind of self-examination may help to drive them away. It is not security but fleshly security that we would kill, not confidence but carnal confidence that we would overthrow, not peace but false peace that we would destroy.
By the precious blood of Christ, which was not shed to make you a hypocrite, but rather that sincere souls might declare His praise, I urge you to search and look, for fear that in the end it will be said of you, "Tekel, you have been weighed in the balances and found wanting."3
Family Bible reading plan
verse 1 Zechariah 5
verse 2 John 8
Child in the Manger: The True Meaning of Christmas
What is Christmas? For many it is a time for holidays, parties, family gatherings, gifts, meals together, music, and special events. For others it can mean unwanted pressure, an increased sense of loneliness, family squabbles, and crowded shops. For those living in the Northern Hemisphere, Christmas takes place at the onset of winter with its cold weather and short days. There are more incidents of depression at Christmas time than at any other time of the year. It is the best of times for some, but the worst of times for others, to borrow a phrase from Charles Dickens.
The birth of Jesus divided history into two major epochs. Until the dawn of our hyper-sensitive age, even the way we dated events underscored this. From time immemorial, every day, week, month, and year has been described as either “B.C.” (“Before Christ”) or “A.D.” (Anno Domini, “in the year of our Lord”). Even the modern, pluralistic style abbreviations, B.C.E. (“Before the Common Era”) and C.E. (“Common Era”) cannot obliterate the indelible impress of Jesus birth. For what makes the “Common Era” so “common”? And what explains the dividing line date? The answer is the same: the birth of Jesus. At the very center of history stands the person of Jesus Christ. And He does so because He is at the center of God’s story.
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From Morning & Evening revised and edited by Alistair Begg copyright © 2003. Used by permission of Crossway Books, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers, Wheaton, IL 60187, www.crossway.org.